A nine-year-old pianist from Huddersfield has been selected to study at the UK’s most prestigious music school.
Jessica Howson, of Highburton, will take up her place at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester this September after being selected to study piano at the highest level.
Jessica, who attends Highburton First School, only began playing the piano four years ago, but has quickly progressed through music exams and festivals to show a natural talent for the instrument.
Her piano teacher, Sally Byrne, of Kirkburton, said: “From a very young age Jessica had a focused approach to her playing and an obvious love for the instrument. She soon began to take exams and enter music festivals with great success.
“Last summer, I encouraged Jessica to attend an open day at Chetham’s Music School. She loved the school and began to apply for a place. It was an extremely difficult auditioning process which saw Jessica returning to the school nine times for various performances and interviews. Eventually she was offered a place which is extremely hard to attain, particularly in piano.”
Jessica, who lives at home with parents Mark and Anna and younger sister Poppy, will have to live at the Manchester school during the week to focus on her studies. As well as receiving academic and music tuition at the highest level, she will have the opportunity to play in chamber groups, choirs, orchestras and take part in concerts at major music venues around the UK.
Jessica, who is currently preparing for her Grade 5 piano exam this summer, said: “I’m really looking forward to it. It’s a big step being away from home, but I’ve already been for some practice visits and feel ready to take my music to the next level now. I can’t wait.”
Jessica will be joining 300 other talented students – aged from eight to 18 – who already attend Chetham’s. Entry to the school is based purely on musical potential and audition. Many students receive bursaries to enable young people from all social backgrounds to attend. A third of the school’s curriculum is devoted to music, so Jessica will be practicing for around three hours everyday.
Mum Anna said: “We’re so proud of Jessica and what she has already achieved. She works so hard, practising her piano for hours each day and we’re so pleased she’s been given this amazing opportunity to achieve her potential. We’ll really miss her, but want to see her grow to be the great musician we know she can be.”